Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Dulce de Membrillo or a delicious quince paste to go with cheese
I know there are several beautiful Membrillo-posts out there (f.ex. written by Melissa, Elise, Nicky, Aran, Pastry Studio - to name just a few), but I used a somewhat different method to make this delicious Spanish quince paste, so it's worth sharing the recipe after all. We were served the Queso con Membrillo on several occasions during our trip to Spain in Spring 2008 (for example, here's a plate we enjoyed at Rincón del Chorro, Albarracin, Aragon), and I've made the quince paste twice at home since then. Quinces are only available at the markets here during early Winter, and not widely familiar to people at all.
By the way - if you've got small children at home, then try serving them some of the puréed quince before adding the sugar. Our daughter LOVED the unsweetened quince pureé!!
(Küdooniamarmelaad 'Dulce de Membrillo')
6 large quinces (about 1,5 kg)
about 1 kg caster sugar
Wash the quinces and place into a large saucepan. Pour over enough water to cover the fruit. Bring to boil and simmer on low heat for about 1-1,5 hours, until the quinces are completely soft (test for softness by piercing with a small knife).
Remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool.
Remove the soft quinces from the cooking liquid. Cut into half, remove the core. NOTE: I did not peel the quinces. A lot of the pectin is in the peel (it's the pectin that helps the paste to thicken and jellify later), and as quinces are hard to grow commercially, it's unlikely that they've been sprayed with something horrible anyway. Feel free to peel the quinces if you prefer, of course.
Place the quinces into blender and pureé until smooth (add a spoonful or few of the cooking liquid to get you started, if needed).
Now weigh the cream-coloured fruit pulp and place into a clean saucepan. Add the same amount (re: weight) of sugar, and a squeeze or two of lemon juice. (I believe that the acid in lemon juice works with the sugar to jell the pectin in quinces).
Bring slowly to the boil and then simmer over moderate heat, stirring regularly, until the quince paste thickens, turns darker in colour and doesn't stick to the walls of the saucepan any longer (this can take about an hour).
Line a heat-resistant dish with parchment paper and pour the quince paste into the dish (mine was 25 x 35 cm). Smooth the top, and place into a dry and cool place to cool and jell completely.
Cut into thick slices and serve with Manchego cheese (or Nopri talojuust, if you're reading and making this in Estonia.).